Midwife + Nursing Baby = Crazy Stories!

For a little change of pace, I thought it’d be fun to recount some of the craziness that took place in my life over this past summer. With my third-born arriving in February, I took a break from delivering babies while we adjusted and recovered. As the summer came closer, and the due dates of those fist mamas approached, I’ll admit that I had some misgivings. For starters, it wasn’t like I was getting vast amounts of sleep. 🙂 Then, you add my dear, intense, unpredictable baby to the mix. The plan had been to bring the baby along, and make sure I had an assistant along to help out, should my baby need help while I was unavailable. I had these lovely visions of those “crunchy” midwives that you see doing everything toting their happy baby around on their back…but that’s not reality in my case!


my baby girl when these stories start…

My babies have all been of the “high needs” class, and baby #3 has been no exception. But that adds another dimension to the situation when you’re talking of bringing an extra little person along to something as unpredictable and intense as a birth! Thankfully, I was blessed with very understanding clients, and they were all duly warned beforehand that if I was hired, so was my baby…but I also promised to do my best to keep distractions to a minimum. So here are some tales from this past summer as I toted my little companion with me at all hours of the day and night!

As it turned out, I didn’t have alot of time to stress over how it was all going to work out, as my first mama went early. When I took the early morning call, I had to think that the timing was beautiful, as I had JUST finished feeding Talitha, and had just gone back to bed. (On another note, it also happened that my sister was staying the weekend, so Joel didn’t even have to babysit the other children!) This meant she was ready to be buckled into the van, where she promptly fell asleep-and she slept long enough for me to arrive at the house, unload, set things up and have my babysitter/assistant arrive to help me out. And it just happened to be my dear friend/helper who can now say she’s cared for ALL of my babies at births over the years. Beth did a great job of playing with Talitha, taking her outside for a walk when she was fussy, and acting as my second set of hands at the same time.

Beth entertaining Talitha

Beth entertaining Talitha

It felt like an answer to prayer, then, when my baby slept in the new  baby’s nursery during the birth itself, and for the hour after. She even sat in her Bumbo while we finished cleaning up! With the exception of crying while the mama was in transition (this was when Beth took her for a walk!), she did really well. This made me figure that maybe this whole thing of bringing a baby along wouldn’t be so challenging after all…

Until the next birth! It was that evening that I realized that my baby girl does not appreciate Chipotle’s spicy chicken. I already knew that dairy products caused her stomach to protest, so I had forgone any cheese and sr. cream on my burrito the night before. But the chicken must have been too much. This time, a good friend from my church was along to help babysit, and provide any additional help we might need at the birth. All was well when we arrived, but as the evening wore on, Talitha protested everything…nursing…sleep, you name it. Lynelle ended up walking her up and down the road, and finally baby calmed down and went to sleep. But once she was down, she awoke for her usual night feeding, and blissfully slept through the birth and ensuing clean up. The biggest challenge, then, was getting home when it was her usual time to get up, and now mama wanted to sleep!

Fast forward several busy weeks…by this point, I had two mamas that could technically go anytime. And then at the last minute, I ended up taking over care for another friend, as her midwife had a planned trip out of town (planned well in advance-the hope was that this baby would arrive before she left!), and her baby had decided to take her own sweet time to arrive. Wouldn’t you know, the day this baby decided to come, all of my back-up helpers were either out of town or busy…and my own family was in the middle of helping to host a youth group of 20 from OH, as well as prepare for a big open house that the ministry my husband works for was hosting that evening. Timing can be amazing sometimes! 🙂 It’s also amazing, though, how God can work out all the details…a friend helped


Amy & Talitha

with my older children so my husband could finish his projects for the day, and one of the youth group girls graciously consented to being pulled into a totally unexpected job. Amy ended up not only caring for my baby, but also caring for the laboring mama’s older toddler, as well. The baby came in the middle of the afternoon, once again finding Talitha sleeping during the birth, and we made it back to the open house that evening just as they were ready to ask the blessing on the meal.

I had a couple of weeks to wait, then, as the next babies weren’t in any hurry to come. In fact, I had pretty much given up on being at either of them, as we had planned to be out of town for a weekend (again, this was planned before these mamas started care), and with both of the babies still inside, I figured the chances were slim that they would both wait on my return. But when we returned home from our little trip, both babies were still waiting! The amazing thing was that they also waited until after the following afternoon, when our church was having an ordination that my husband was part of…I wasn’t sure what I was going to do if I had received a call during that time! That evening, after a big, busy day in which Talitha missed a good nap, I got a call-and we decided that this time I should leave her home sleeping (she had just gone down), and hope that either I would be home by the time she got up, or else we’d figure out a plan B. I went on out, and after awhile realized I wasn’t going to be home to feed her, so my babysitter went by my home and brought Talitha to me, around 2am! She looked rather puzzled when she arrived, but after taking everything in, she nursed and went down for a good nap, waking once and needing some attention.

waiting patiently for mommy to finish paperwork

waiting patiently for mommy to finish paperwork

We went on to have a baby, and soon after I got another call-this time from the other mama. Things were happening fast, so after checking things over again, I left my newly-delivered mama in the hands of my assistant Gretchen, pulled Talitha out of bed and tucked her into her carseat, and raced across town. By the time I reached this home, I knew things were moving quickly, and since Talitha was sleeping, she just stayed in her carseat while I went in and joined my assistant (Lynelle) for the birth, which took place within half an hour of my arrival! Once Talitha awoke (about an hour later!), Lynelle brought her in and she was happy as a lark, and she did well the rest of the morning as we returned to the first mama and completed another appointment before we got home.

But the next birth was not so rosy from Talitha’s perspective…I had hoped that if things happened in the night, I could just let her sleep. My usual babysitter was unavailable, and after calling around, I found a friend who was willing to help out, and she brought Talitha to me when it was time for her to eat. Teething was in full force, and my little girlie was not a happy camper. I honestly don’t know what I would have done with out Heidi, who patiently walked her around the neighborhood until she went to sleep…

The last two births of the summer took place about a week apart, and both ended up being similar stories…both took place at some time during the night, both places Talitha protested being put to bed (I have a travel pack n play that would always take with me), and both times once she finished protesting, she went to sleep and was fine.

Sleeping peacefully in her bed

Sleeping peacefully in her bed

So thus ended the adventures of Talitha joining mommy at births!
As a general rule, I only take on 2 clients per month, as I find more than that very stretching…partly due to demands on family time, partly to the difficulty in sleeping after a birth when you have little ones at home, and partly because I want to enjoy being a mom besides being a midwife. 🙂 So doing 8 births in 3 months time was a record since I’ve been combining midwifery with family life. My husband and I marvel as we look over the summer…there were so many other things going on, besides these births, and yet we’re amazed at the way God directed and orchestrated these events. There is a dear older midwife around here that tells me God always sIMG_0031eems to work things out in a perfect way…if I could just learn that from the get-go, it would eliminate alot of stress in my life! But this is a little picture of how things came together this summer, from just one perspective-that of having a nursing baby. Now that my baby is getting older, it will hardly happen anymore. On one hand, it looks much easier to not have that additional unpredictable factor included at births-and on the other hand, I’m going to miss my little buddy!

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